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Consultation for the development of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition

FAO Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

The “Consultation for the development of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition” has already received interesting contributions. Below you can read short summaries of these comments.

This online consultation invites you to share your views on the Zero Draft of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition.

It is part of a consultative process that also includes six regional consultations of which the first one, the CFS Gender Regional Consultation for Latin America and the Caribbean, took place this week. Below you will find a note from the facilitators of this online consultation, in which they provide a short overview of this regional event.

Please visit the FSN Forum website to read the introduction to the online consultation and the discussion questions in English, Español, Français, Русский, 中文 or  العربية, and to post your contribution in any of these six languages.

There is also an ongoing “Call for sharing experiences and good practices in the use and application of the CFS-RAI”, which is also facilitated by the CFS Secretariat.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact FSN at

The FSN Forum Team look forward to receiving your precious feedback!

TO PARTICIPATE – send your contribution to or post it on


The CFS Gender Regional Consultation for Latin America and the Caribbean took place on 21-22 September. The Consultation was very well attended with close to 100 participants from countries of the region participating in the event at any time and more following the webcast. All constituent groups contributed to the plenary discussions: representatives from governments, UN System, civil society, research institutions, private sector and others, sharing precious information on challenges and potential solutions. This was the first one of a series of six consultations planned to take place in September-November 2021.

The objective of the CFS regional consultations is to align the future CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in the Context of Food Security and Nutrition with national and regional priorities and needs. The main background document for the consultation, the Zero Draft of the Guidelines, was presented by Ms Tanja Grén (Finland) and Mr Tomas Duncan (Panama), Co-Chairs appointed by the CFS Bureau to facilitate the policy convergence process.

H.E. Ms Beatriz Argimon, Vice President of Uruguay, delivered the first keynote. She was congratulated for tirelessly championing the rights of rural women, including the rights to food and nutrition. Mr Berdegué, Regional Representative of FAO for Latin America and the Caribbean delivered a keynote on behalf of FAO, IFAD and WFP, sharing impressive statistics on the dramatic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on poverty and food security and nutrition. Finally, Ms Maria Noel Vaeza, UN Women’s Regional Director for the Americas and the Caribbean, stressed the fact that empowering women and girls was an effective way of improving nutrition, not only of women but of all members of their family. The three keynote speakers underlined the importance of the CFS future Guidelines and their support to their implementation once agreed by CFS in October 2022.


Srikanthi Bodapati

Nutrition and Public Health Specialist, India

Srikanthi comments on section 3.8 of the Zero Draft, “Women and men’s ability to make strategic choices for healthy diets and good nutrition”, and suggests including some additional aspects in the section’s problem statement. She discusses, for instance, how broader social factors can deprive women and young girls of education and nutrition, referring to forced early marriage and influence of family members on women’s and girls’ reproductive health choices.

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Asikaralu Okafor

Maklumy Technology Services Limited, Nigeria

Asikaralu provides feedback on section 3.2 of the Zero Draft: “Elimination of violence and discrimination against women for improved food security and nutrition”. She refers to the situation in Nigeria, where women experience psychological and economic violence due to patriarchy. Women often do not have full ownership of farmland or are not allowed to use the profits they earn for personal needs. With regard to section 3.3, “Access to education, capacity building, training, knowledge and information services”, Asikaralu argues that child/early marriage is an age-long tradition that falls outside the sphere of influence of civilization and religion.

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Atika Marouf

Seed Development Project funded by IFAD, Sudan

Atika points to the need for nutrition awareness raising programs and training on income generation activities for women.

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Santosh Kumar Mishra

Population Education Resource Centre, Department of Lifelong Learning and Extension (Previously known as: Department of Continuing and Adult Education and Extension Work), S. N. D. T. Women’s University, Mumbai (Retired: on June 30, 2020), India

Santosh proposes to include the aspect of “family life education” (FLE) in Part 2 of the Zero Draft. He discusses what FLE should look like in practice, pointing out that it should be provided to both boys and girls, and that it should cover the following broad subject areas: 1) negotiation skills; 2) communication skills, and 3) values for healthy and responsible living. The aim of FLE would be to equip boys and girls with the skills needed for taking right and rational decisions in all relevant matters throughout life. Based on his professional experience, Santosh argues that the traditional tools to support women’s empowerment that are suggested by policy makers often do not have the desired outcome, and that FLE could promote the needed changes.                   

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Violet Chanza Black

World Food Programme, Cameroon

According to Violet, the Guidelines should feature a more comprehensive discussion on including women and girls in the development of climate change adaptation skills, with a particular focus on digital technologies. In this context, one should take into account existing gender gaps in terms of skills, and access to information and training.

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